GIVEN THE current state budget debate (

"Corbett to Friendly Phila. Crowd: 'Keeping the Promises I Made,' " June 1

), I was heartened to read that Gov. Corbett is focused on a long-term challenge: how we finance higher education.

Corbett believes students would be better served if more of our state funding were directed to the students rather than to institutions. He's right. Taxpayers are spending about $2 billion this year subsidizing higher education. About 80 percent of this is sent directly to institutions while students receive the other 20 percent.

This system restricts choice because it encourages students to attend the limited number of public universities where students can obtain the state-subsidized lower tuition. The system also subsidizes higher-income students who don't need as much state financial help as others might.

And it doesn't reflect the fact that roughly equal percentages of students who receive federal Pell grants, available only to students from lower-income homes, attend public and private schools. These students deserve the same support, no matter where they go to college.

Our members support redirecting this institutional money to students through grants provided by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. More funding for PHEAA would result in larger grants to current recipients and would add more middle-class students. We recommend a thorough study on the impacts of such a change.

Don Francis, President

Association of Independent Colleges

and Universities of Pennsylvania

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Confused Justice

What kind of drugs are being used at the Justice Department? Meeting with the BCS!

Try meeting with those responsible for the price rise in gasoline - they have hurt every citizen in this country. I for one could care less about the BCS - and I'm a football fan.

Tom Corcoran, Philadelphia